Williamson denies claims of cronyism

Maurice Williamson
Maurice Williamson
Embattled National Party MP Maurice Williamson is denying allegations of cronyism after his involvement in a criminal case against a wealthy Chinese businessman.

Mr Williamson last week resigned his ministerial portfolios amid revelations he interfered in a police case against Donghua Liu for domestic violence.

He was also instrumental in Liu's purchase of a neighbouring beachfront property in Pauanui after he checked with the owner if the property was still for sale and passed on her details to Liu.

After Liu was granted citizenship, following lobbying from Mr Williamson and John Banks who was Auckland mayor at the time, the businessman made a $22,000 donation to the National Party.

Today Mr Williamson told TVNZ's Q+A show he did not only help out wealthy party donors.

"I've had people come to my constituency office that are as poor as a church mouse.

"In a couple of cases I've had to find some money for them to pay for food that day because they couldn't feed their family."

He said he made a mistake, he got it wrong and he should not have contacted police.

He was neither impressed nor not impressed with the personal wealth of anyone.

The rules that donations to political parties should be declared was transparent and was a good policy, Mr Williamson said.

"There's another dilemma with regards to political funding - the public don't like the idea of state funding, that is tax payers funding political parties, they think they should raise their own.

"Then political parties go out to raise their own and people think it's cronyism and I don't quite know how you resolve that dilemma."

He said he would accept the allegation of cronyism if the only people he helped were rich.

"You have to help everybody."

 

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